When I walked out of the hotel in Hot Springs at 5 AM Big Reds temperature gauge said 87 and you cut the the air, as they say , the humidity was so high. The first thing I noticed was the smell of the armoured jacket I was wearing. Boy did I stink. Guess it is time to do laundry again.
Off we go in the dark. By 6 AM we were well into timber woods of southern Arkansas. There was no traffic in my direction, but lots of trucks were headed to Hot Springs or maybe the rock quarry just south of the city. There is not much to see here. Just timber land and after the early morning rush of trucks, very little traffic. New Edinburgh was an interesting dead town complete with a "smitty".
(sorry for the less than great pictures)
In the very southern part of Arkansas it turned into rural farm land again, with soybeans, corn and rice. I came up on a crop duster strip or the politically correct term aerial applicator. The ground crew was John lllll and Carlos Sciara IV. Carlos III was flying the plane. John was a local and Carlos was the 4th generation Italian immigrant. Carlos I and just passed away, I believe, in the last year and Carlos II had been a farmer but now was selling farm land. It took about 20 minutes before Carlos III came in for a second load.
He was kind enough to come over and we talked for a few minutes. He said their season was winding down and for the winter he went hunting and fishing..
carlos cleans carlos's windshield
pilot carlos takes time for a photo
I had told Carlos IV and John I had lost my hat back down the road. They said I had to stop in and see Mr.Brian, the other half of Sciara and Whittington, and they were sure he would give me a hat. I did and they were right and he gave me a hat. Carlos said the season was slowing down but watching Brian in the office you could have fooled me. The phone was ringing the whole time and he was taking business. He had been just a ground applicator but six years ago added aerial application. Since then he said it seems like he works twice as hard and made half as much money. Sounds like every aviation operation I have ever owned. Brain was an interesting person. He was born and raised in Eurado had never really left his town and did not want to. Even being a history buff and interested in civil war, he had never made the 75 mile drive to Vicksburg which is full of civil war history until a preacher friend came to Reno.
We crossed into Louisiana and ran in to a traffic jam. I only got one picture of the jam, but there were two more on the road.
In Tallulah, LA I pulled into the little airport to use the bathroom and cool off. There I met Dexter. He had been in the Navy for eight years, but said he got on the wrong boat and was sea all the time. He enjoyed working at the airport. He thought he had grown up in the ugliest part of America until he started riding in planes of the area. It gave him a whole new outlook on his home area.
Also based at this airport is one of the most expensive corporate jets in the world, a Gulfstream IV. So, why is the executive jet based here in the middle of nowhere? Who pays for this fine piece of machinery? It is here to fly the general from the Army Corp of Engineers and you pay for it. I appreciate the need for transport for personal and it can be a very valuable tool. But I having been a passenger in a corporate jet, you quickly lose touch with the real world. So the question I have is, why to they need a jet that even many fortune 500 companies can not justify owning?
Big Red and me crossed the "big muddy", better known as the Mississippi River and pulled into Vicksburg, MS information station. I decided it was time to check in to a B&B again. I pulled out the smart phone, googled up B&B and picked one a random. The phone rang the The Corners B&B. I was trying to get back into being price sensitive again. That last couple of days in the heat I had just picked the hotel that I got points and a fair, but not great, price. I was going to be hard nose, but Joe the owner quickly disarmed me on the phone and I headed over to his place. His wife Macy met me and checked me into a very large 2 bed room on the garden level.
I cooled off and headed out to be a tourist and have a late lunch/early dinner at Walnut Hill Restaurant. Macy had recommended it and it was exactly what I wanted. It was in an old house and one of the blue plate specials was meat loaf, 3 vegetables, tea, cornbread and peach cobbler all for the princely sum of $9. At the bar were a couple of local ladies that were having a great time. Jeff, the manager, a very nice guy whispered that the blonde was his ex-wife. A few minutes later she came over to talk and whispered that Jeff was her ex-husband. A couple came in from, I believe Shreveport, LA. The wife was standing at the table talking to the local girls and said they were coming back from Nirvana; Highlands, NC. The golf was great, the weather was cool, and then in a low voice, but load enough for me hear at the bar "and you know, no blacks".
(really bad pictures)
jeff and the ladies
I had planned to tour town but when I came out of the restaurant light rain was falling so I headed back to The Corners were it had not rained and did not rain. I was setting in the court yard visiting with Macy and John, the resident handyman, when Macy offered me a frozen Margarita. The Corners shot straight to the top of my list of the worlds greatest B&B. Macy's parents were driving from Dallas to DC and stopped here and stayed in the B&B across the street in 1985. In the morning, while her father was loading the car, her mother walked across the street and found that this house was for sale. By 5:30 they had a contract and were in the B&B business. She and her husband took it over a few years ago. After the drink she gave me a tour of the house and a great short history lesson on Vicksburg. I will need to come here and stay a little longer.